CMU Daily - on the inside 26 Mar 2003
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
• Radiohead on their anti-Bush album title
• Jay-Z plans new direction for his last album
• Virgin radio boss on the Evans problem
• Wartime tracks and cancellations
• New industry networking organisation launches
• MP3 Review: Sufferkiss - This Is Why / My Disguise / Think Of Me
• V Fest additions
• Popstar girl in court
• Kelly on Christina
• Hip hop festival comes to Newcastle
• BMG upbeat after profits increase
• Coldplay tells fans to "sing against the war"
• Emap confident but cautious
• Toploader no more
• Review: Task Force & Braintax – Rockstarz
• Madonna's new album may overcome disappointing year
• Universal negotiate new finance
• TaTu on their three times a day schedule

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CMU POP QUIZ

Win a free 12 month subscription to Xfm's new monthly music magazine X-Ray, keep the answers to our cover version related questions each day this week and find out how to enter on Friday.

Q3: Which two artists had Top 40 hits with 'Could It Be Magic' before Take That?

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RADIOHEAD ON THEIR ANTI-BUSH ALBUM TITLE
Radiohead have explained to NME the motivation behind the title of their sixth album 'Hail To The Thief'. It makes reference to the slogan used by anti-Bush protestors after his dubious 'election' to the presidency back in 2000. As Bush arrived at the White House for the first time rather than being met by crowds of well wishers there were crowds of protestors shouting "Hail to the thief, our Commander in Chief". The phrase has become something of a mantra for the anti-Bush movement, and there’s even a website at http://www.hail-to-the-thief.org that casts a cynical eye over US policy.

As for the album, the final mastering has been completed and provisional release dates set – the album should be out on 9 Jun, with first single release 'There There' out on 26 May. Apparently all but two of the tracks on the album were showcased at European gigs last summer – meaning only 'Backdrifts' and 'The Gloaming' will be completely new to the loyal Radiohead fans.

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JAY-Z PLANS NEW DIRECTION FOR HIS LAST ALBUM
Jay Z will release a reworked version of 'The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse' on 7 Apr featuring the rapper's favourite material from the 2002 version and previously unreleased tracks. He is already planning his next album – 'The Black Album' – which he has told NME could well be his last. And word is he is planning to do something a little bit different: "There comes a time when you've got to go and challenge yourself with other areas, you know what I'm saying? Take myself out of my comfort zone. Take the safety blanket off."

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VIRGIN RADIO BOSS ON THE EVANS PROBLEM
More from the increasingly tedious Evans vs Virgin Radio trial.

The radio station's chief executive John Pearson yesterday told the court that Evan's decision not to turn up for work after a drinking binge in April 2001 had left him feeling "powerless" and had put the station in an "impossible position".

Describing Evan's no-show as "wholly unprecedented" he told the court: "No apology was offered for Chris' behaviour. I find it amazing that Chris appears to think it was acceptable. A presenter cannot make a unilateral decision about a show and then disappear. In all my years in radio this behaviour was wholly unprecedented, the main presenter disappearing without explanation. We were then told he was ill, which subsequently turned out to be untrue. The station was put in an impossible position with the obvious danger of the whole thing becoming a high-profile media disaster, damaging the station and its credibility."

Pearson said the station originally told reporters Evans would be taking a short break. But as more and more tabloid reports showed Evans living it up, and with Chris refusing to talk to him, the station boss claims he had not choice but to reluctantly sack the presenter.

"Despite my repeated requests that he contact me he had not done so. Although I was the chief executive I felt powerless.” Pearson said he was particularly concerned because Evans' prolonged no-show followed the sacking of members of his crew (something Pearson claims was entirely Evans' decision and nothing to do with the station's management). Not only did Virgin not know where their star presenter was, but they had no idea what kind of show he was planning on presenting once he returned.
The case continues.

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WARTIME TRACKS AND CANCELLATIONS
REM are the latest band to put an anti-war track online. The track, 'The Final Straw', was first performed at a Vancouver in-store gig last weekend and is now online at http://www.remhq.com.

Commenting on the track Michael Stipe told fans: "This is the strongest voice I could think of to send out there. We had to send something out there now. We are praying and hoping for the lives of all people involved, the troops, the Iraqi civilians, refugees, POWs, families of troops, the innocents, that they are safe and okay. Safe home, all."

Meanwhile Kelly Rowland has confirmed she is cancelling her European tour, due to start in the UK on 13 Apr, because she's frightened about travelling during the Iraq war. Shakira will continue with her European dates next month as planned, though, perhaps more understandably, she has cancelled dates in Lebanon and Libya.

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NEW INDUSTRY NETWORKING ORGANISATION LAUNCHES
A new networking organisation for the music industry will officially launch at Soho House on 9 Apr. The organisation, called MusicTank, has been set up by AIM, BPI, British Music Rights, MPA, MPG, MU and the National Music Council and aims to "encourage and support networking and cross-fertilisation of ideas and strategies across traditionally distinct sectors within the music industry".

MusicTank hopes to bring together people working in all music genres at any stage in their careers to create what organisers call "a collaborative community for label managers, publishers, artists, artist managers, composers, songwriters, promoters, booking agents, producers, audio professionals, advertisers, merchandisers, press, promotions and beyond".

The two main functions of the organisation are an online resource at http://www.musictank.co.uk and regular networking events on different topics and themes relevant to the music industry.

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AIM RELAUNCH NEW MEDIA COMMITTEE
The Association of Independent Music has reconstituted and relaunched its New Media Committee – the bit of the organisation that has negotiated collective online licensing deals for independent labels and set up the Musicindie new media support initiative.

Talking about the changes in the committee AIM chair Alison Wenham, told us: "The old committee, chaired by Martin Mills, prepared AIM so well for the issues and challenges of the new media world, that we mothballed it while we implemented all the recommendations. It's time to review our approach to new media opportunities and drive them forward as aggressively as the market requires. AIM is still the only organisation able to offer collective deals for licensees on behalf of its 700 members".

The relaunched committee counts among its membership: James Kyllo (Poptones), Giles Drew (V2) , Gavin Robertson (AIM/MusicIndie), Steve Johnston (AIM/MusicIndie), Dominic Reeves (Sanctuary), Matt Ward (Kickin) and Wendy K (Ninja Tune). Beggars Group's Simon Wheeler will chair the committee.

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MP3 REVIEW: Sufferkiss - This Is Why / My Disguise / Think Of Me (Unsigned)
Some people enjoy a very successful career in the music industry without attending gigs, take CMU publisher Chris Cooke for example, but unlike some major label A&R scrubbers at least he admits to it. And though Chris spends his evenings contently watching E4 he is likely to miss out on the joys of self-released singles by unsigned bands such as these three sublime songs by Sufferkiss. But I guess that's why the internet and MP3s were invented (as well as, according to Kim Howells, to fund international terrorism). The ghost like echoes on 'My Disguise' and the haunting (though slightly naff) lyrics introducing 'Think Of Me' will make you body shiver and your soul weep, add the aggressive delicacy of 'This Is Why' and it may even get you to switch off the new series of 'Friends' and get you fat arse to a gig. FC
Check the tracks at http://www.mp3.com/sufferkiss or http://www.sufferkiss.co.uk
Press contact: susie@sosumimusic.com

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V FEST ADDITIONS
Quick V Festival update - The Hives and Echo and the Bunnymen have been added to a bill which already includes Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and The Coral among others. The V Festival takes place on 17 and 17 Aug.

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POPSTAR GIRL IN COURT
Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy was in court yesterday facing those charges of racially aggravated assault after an incident in a Guildford club last January. Charges were reduced from racially aggravated actual bodily to racially aggravated common assault – but Tweedy continues to deny all allegations. The case was adjourned for a full hearing on 4 Apr – if found guilty the Popstars winner could face up to two years in prison.

Not sure if the court room publicity will help or hinder the girl group's second single, 'No Good Advice', which has a provisional release date of 12 May. The song is described by the band's management as a pacy disco track with catchy guitar - a cross between Blondie and the Bangles – whatever that means.

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KELLY ON CHRISTINA
You can't beat a good pop feud, and for that you can rely on the Osbournes. Kelly Osbourne has been telling Heat magazine about a run in with Christina Aguilera at a party recently. Christina confronted Kelly about the time she described Aguilera as a "disgusting human being". But Kelly wasn’t impressed.

"She spoke to me in this black slang like she was from the ghetto. She was like "Yo girl, artists for artists, yo, why you been talkin' shit?" I didn't understand a word she was saying. But I stopped saying things about her. Then she made out like she had started a fight with me, to make herself look cool. She's like a fucking feather. I could pick her up and chuck her across the room. She's a pussy. She has a mouth on her, but she's all talk."

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HIP HOP FESTIVAL COMES TO NEWCASTLE
The Culturama Hip Hop Film Festival is coming to the UK. Following events in New York and Hollywood the UK version of Culturama will take place at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle on 17 Apr.

The festival presents a range of videos and documentaries from the world of US independent hip hop – among the artists featured are Buck 65, Swollen Members, KRS 1, Sadat X and People Under the Stairs. There will also be live performances from J Rawls (Lone Catalysts) and DJ Thanksgiving Brown (Female Fun). More info at http://www.tynecine.org

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BMG UPBEAT AFTER PROFITS INCREASE
BMG's parent company, Germany based media giant Bertelsmann, had a good year in 2002 despite a continuing downturn in the global media and entertainment industries. Net profits for the world's fifth largest media group were £630m and sales were £12.4bn – considerably up on 2002 and higher than pundits had been predicting. That said, borrowings also doubled during the year, mainly due to the Zomba acquisition. But bosses hope the intergration of Zomba and BMG's other music operations (principally RCA and Arista) will mean a quick return on the investment.

The news will please investors after what had seemed a turbulent year after chief executive Thomas Middlehoff left the group, and the real cost of Middlehoff's internet dabblings (in particular their unsuccessful takeover of Napster) became clear.

The good news will fuel rumours that BMG in particular is considering acquiring one of the other major labels said to be considering mergers – and that means EMI and Warners. Then again, as previously reported, EU officials have blocked past merger attempts by major labels. And while they seem to have softened their objections to industries consolidating into fewer major players, they may still block any BMG deal given the recent Zomba takeover, which gave Bertelsmann a considerable share of the pop market.

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COLDPLAY TELL FANS TO "SING AGAINST THE WAR"
Coldplay's Chris Martin encouraged the audience at Monday's Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Albert Hall to stand up and sing along saying: "Most of us here are English and everyone has got a fear of singing in public, tonight abandon your Englishness and you can feel the sound of the song. Sing against the war, pop music and Simon Cowell and all that shit."

Martin, who has a habit of adding snippets of other songs into his, played a verse of what he called "the best song around", Oasis' 'Songbird', at the end of 'Everything's Not Lost', and sang the chorus of TaTu's 'All The Things She Said' during 'In My Place'.

During 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head' he changed the lyrics to "Buy a gun and start a meaningless war" in a subtle anti-war protest.

Meanwhile the Coldplay boys have announced that Canadian MOR artist Ron Sexsmith and Dallas-based pop group Eisley will support them when they tour the US later this year.

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EMAP CONFIDENT BUT CAUTIOUS
Bosses at Emap are predicting a revenue growth of 2% for the financial year that ends this month, despite the continuing advertising recession. In a financial statement the company – who publish Q, Smash Hits, Kerrang and Heat, and own the Kiss and Magic TV and radio stations – told investors: "Economic and geopolitical conditions remain uncertain and Emap, like many of its peers, is taking a cautious view of the trading conditions for the forthcoming financial year. However, the group is confident that the natural resilience and diversity of the business will continue to secure good progress."

In the broadcasting division Emap's radio division has reported a 2% slide in advertising revenues – but this has been counteracted by the huge success and growth of their jukebox TV stations which saw advertising revenues rise by 161%.

Bosses also expect to see a rise in advertising revenues in its consumer media – though certain titles, in particular Heat, will have delivered a lot of that rise.

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TOPLOADER NO MORE
Toploader have officially split up – news we were awaiting after they were dropped by Sony label S2 due to poor record sales. Writing on their website the band told fans: "We have decided to call it a day with Toploader. We just wanted to say thank you so much for your support over the years. You have been the best fans and we will miss you all. Cheers, the band."

Toploader originally performed well, gaining a lot of college support. But they quickly got assigned to the middle of the road pop bracket – getting play from VH1 and Radio 2 more than MTV and Radio 1. Most recent album 'Magic Hotel' didn’t perform well leading to the decision by S2 to part company with the band.

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REVIEW: Task force & Braintax – Rockstarz (Low Life )
'Rockstarz' is a booming fun-poking bash joint, with that heavy ragga rhythm and UK sense of humour we love so much. Though it pains me to say it, this sounds like a ragga version of 'Purple Pills' or 'Without Me'. The fipside, 'You Know Who You Are' is a classic mid-tempo hiphop cut, with a jazzy loop, great rhymes and cheeky scratching and an anthemic chorus. While Braintax rocks the beats, Farma G, Rodney P and Mystro rhyme it up, Shortee Blitz scratches. The remix is a wicked eastern influenced Egyptian reggae cut. JG
Release date: 24 Mar
Press contact: Zzonked [all]

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MADONNA’S NEW ALBUM MAY OVERCOME DISAPPOINTING YEAR
With Madonna's flop movie 'Swept Away' being named worst film of 2002 at the pre-Oscars spoor awards the Razzies (Madonna herself tying with Britney for Worst Actress for 'Swept Away' and getting Worst Supporting Actor for her cameo in 'Die Another Day') the queen of pop really needs some critical and commercial success to maintain her royal status.

But the word from the US is that new single 'American Life' might just be it. The track is getting huge radio play and a hectic schedule of TV appearances is planned for the week the album of the same name hits the stores.

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UNIVERSAL NEGOTIATE NEW FINANCE
Universal Music's troubled parent company Vivendi Universal has obtained a three-year $2.7 billion loan from a group of banks in a move to refinance its debt. According to the Group's CEO, Jean Rene Fourtou, the refinancing will give Vivendi greater financial flexibility while he pursues his goals of raising about $7 billion from asset sales this year.

Fourtou has been attempting to rescue the entertainment conglom since those false reporting accusations last year sent the company in a financial downwards spiral. That has meant selling off big chunks of the Group, though their music assets are not expected to be among those companies to be sold.

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TATU ON THEIR THREE TIMES A DAY SCHEDULE
Keen to stay in the news, Lesbian pop duo Tatu have told a German newspaper that they have sex with each other three times a day – once in the morning, at lunchtime and last thing at night. And they apparently enjoy regular "group sessions" with female fans after gigs.

Julia told the paper: "We really love each other and the sex is phenomenal. It's a thousand times better than with a man. And contrary to what others might say, we don't just talk about it. We have sex at least three times a day. The best is in the morning when we have just woken up. Then we do it nice and slowly. In the evening it is a lot faster and we rip each other's clothes off. We like it at lunchtime too."

Keen to keep that male fanbase loyal Lena added: "It doesn't bother us if it's a man or a woman. But it is not as much fun with men."

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